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Letter from Robert Morris to John Pierce
Morris, Robert, 1734-1806
March 15, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 745-746

HON. ROBT. MORRIS TO THE PAYMASTER GENERAL.
[From Executive Letter Book]

Office of Finance, 15th March, 1783.

Sir:

By an Act of the United States in Congress Assembled of the twenty-fifth of January last it is resolved that the several States be called upon to complete without delay the settlement of their respective Lines of the army, up to the first day of August, 1780, and that the Superintendent of Finance be directed to take such measures as shall appear to him most proper for effecting the settlement from that period.

Among the various modes of doing this business which have been suggested the appointing you to perform it was one and I have preferred it for the following reasons: First, Because it will spare the necessity of appointing new officers for the purpose which is by no means agreeable to me when it can be avoided. Secondly, Because more of the necessary materials are already in your possession, than in that of any other person. Thirdly, Because the access to public officers and official returns is already open to you from the confidential nature of your department. Fourthly, Because you have hitherto been accurate in your own accounts. Fifthly, Because I have reason to confide in your integrity, and Sixthly, Because on conferring with the Comptroller of the Treasury he conceived your appointment to be the most eligible mode. It was for these reasons that was I induced to make you the Offer, which you have verbally assured me you would accept. Having therefore considered as well the mode of doing the business, as of the Person by whom it was

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to be done. I do hereby authorise, impower and instruct you to proceed with all proper dispatch to the settlement of the Accounts of the arrearages due to the army subsequently to the first day of August in the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty.

In the course of the business you will attend to the following Objects: First to call all those to account who have been intrusted with public Money for the recruiting service, or for pay and make due return to the Treasury of balances due the United States. Secondly, To settle and determine the Sums due to the Officers of the Army respectively, for their arrearages of pay in old money to the 1st of August, 1780, reducing the money received on account to real value, according to the actual depreciation, at the time and place of payment.

Thirdly, To settle and determine the balances due to any Officer and Soldier for the time which elapsed between the first of August 1780, and the first of January, 1782, and also of the like balance for the year 1782. Fourthly, you will take care that your books shall shew in one view, the whole pay of the Army and the aggregate Sum of advances and balances still due, for which purpose you will make Regimental Settlements as far as Circumstances will permit. Fifthly, you will take care to have the Regimental Accounts certified by the Paymasters and Officers commanding the Regiments whenever it can be done, you will check these again by the musters, whenever you can obtain them and finally you will check them by the general returns of the Army. Sixthly, you will take care also to carry to the debit of the several Accounts all advances either money or property made by the several States or form of the different departments. I shall apply to the several States to transmit you accounts of their advances and you will be pleased to call on all public Officers for the same purpose in Virtue of this your appointment. You will from time to time transmit your accounts to the Treasury to be entered of Record, so that proper Certificates may be issued if necessary. You will consider Sir, that on this occasion you are intrusted with the property of your Country and with the claims of a worthy and valuable part of your fellow Citizens. A sense of this duty will I hope and believe will actuate and inspire your conduct, so as to merit the

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applause of the Wise and Virtuous. Before you enter on the duties you will make Oath before a civil Magistrate that you will well and faithfully according to the best of your skill and understanding, without fear, favor, partiality or affection do your duty as the Commissioner appointed by the superintendent of the Finances of the United States, to settle the accounts of the Army, and to determine the balances due to the Officers and Soldiers respectively, and you will return me a Certificate of the taking this Oath.

I am Sir,
Your Most Obedt.
and Hum. Sert.,
R. MORRIS.